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Archive for the ‘MLB’ Category

2011 Milwaukee Brewers Preview

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Is it really only six weeks until spring training? Hard to believe since we can see our breath here in the frozen tundra but it’s true! Could the Packers win in the Super Bowl bring luck to the Brewers? Sure, but the Milwaukee Brewers don’t need luck, they already have what it takes to lead the National League Central this year.

More 2011 Brewers Predictions after the jump >>

2011 American League Central Preview

Royals Joakim SoriaKansas City Royals
Strengths: Having an all-star closer like Joakim Soria is a great luxury, but getting the ball to him with a lead will be tough for the Royals. OF Jeff Francoeur is a nice addition in the outfield, and 2B Mike Aviles is a solid all-around player.

Weaknesses: The loss of SP Zack Greinke just adds to the woes of a very depleted pitching staff, and the outfield lacks a slugger after losing Jose Guillen last season. Pick a position, and the Royals have many questions to answer about it.

Analysis: It’s been 26 years since the Royals have made the postseason, and 2011 does not look to be the year that the streak ends. Second-year manager Ned Yost is going to have his hands full with this bunch.

Prediction: 5th in AL Central

Cleveland Indians
Strengths: OF Shin-Soo Choo showed that he can put together back-to-back successful seasons and lead the team far and away in all-around offense with 22 HR, 90 RBIs, and 22 SB. Closer Chris Perez returns after posting a sub 2.00 ERA and 23 saves in 2010.

Weaknesses: OF Grady Sizemore needs to stay healthy if the Tribe wants to have any chance of contending in the AL Central. The pitching staff, which wasn’t very good in 2010, returns many familiar faces, but they have another year of experience. They aren’t going to look much better in 2011 unless the young guys in the field like 1B Matt LaPorta can hit better than the .221 AVG he put up last season.

Analysis: The Indians are in a rebuilding phase and will need to add some veterans. They did not do much in the off-season, so the pickings could be slim when they realize what they have isn’t worth very much.

Prediction: 4th in AL Central

More 2011 AL Central Predictions after the jump >>

2011 National League East Preview

Hanley RamirezWashington Nationals
Strengths: The Nationals can only go in one direction: Up. They added some key pieces in OF Jayson Werth and 1B Adam LaRoche. Rookie sensation SP Stephen Strasburg hopes to pitch before the end of the season after undergoing surgery last year. If he’s half as good as he is hyped to be, the Nationals have a number-one pitcher for years to come. 3B Ryan Zimmerman will also be a key player in 2011.

Weaknesses: Losing 1B Adam Dunn doesn’t hurt so bad when you pick up Jayson Werth, but his presence will be missed. The pitching staff is scary to look at, in a bad way. SP Livan Hernandez and SP Jason Marquis are way past their prime, and the rest of their pitching options are young guys with little experience.

Analysis: It’s hard to predict good things for a team with no pitching. They made some big off-season moves, acquiring Werth and LaRoche, but the offense they provide isn’t going to be enough to turn this team around. Manager Jim Riggleman is going to have to work a miracle to save this team from itself.

Prediction: 5th in NL East

More 2011 NL East Predictions after the jump >>

2011 American League East Preview

Yankees PitcherBaltimore Orioles
Strengths: Manager Buck Showalter joined the team late in the season last year and turned the Orioles into a respectable team. The additions of 1B Derrek Lee and 3B Mark Reynolds will add some much needed run producers to a team that had zero players with at least 80 RBIs.

Weaknesses: There are plenty to choose from, but the Orioles are very young. The pitching staff gave up runs in bunches last year and will need to improve if they hope to penetrate the .500 mark this season. If 2B Brian Roberts returns to form after an injury-plagued 2010, things will be looking good. If he struggles, a suitable replacement is nowhere in site.

Analysis: The AL East is arguably the best division in baseball; jumping over the Rays, Yankees and Red Sox is a monumental task. The leadership of Showalter will help, but the Orioles are a young team with few genuine stars. Look for them to improve over 2010 but struggle due to their weak pitching staff.

Prediction: 5th in AL East

More 2011 AL East Predictions after the jump >>

See ya Zack

Zack Greinke

Zack Greinke is a Royal no longer. The experts have all weighed in. Joe Posnanski doesn’t like it, but he kinda does. Rany really likes it. Rob Neyer says it isn’t so bad.

I’m far from an expert on this, but I am an expert at being a fan. I get that playing for the Royals wasn’t fun. They lost. A lot. I’ve been there for way too many of those losses. But this sucks. I was there when we couldn’t afford Johnny Damon. I was there when Jermaine Dye was going to be too expensive. I was there to wave adios to Carlos Beltran.

Continue reading about more Royals misbehavior >>

What is Derek Jeter Doing?

I’m at a loss for words about this whole Derek Jeter situation, and that’s actually a pretty rare occurrence. He still hasn’t signed a new contract with the Yankees. He’s shopping himself to other suitors. The potential outcomes of this decision range from horrible to gut wrenching.

Look, I can’t stand the Yankees. Maybe it’s because I’ve always loved the underdog (which means I always root for the losers). When the Yankees come to Kansas City to play the Royals I laugh at all the bandwagon fans with their new NY hats and jerseys, most with the tags still on them.

But there’s a big difference between the old Yankees and the new Yankees, and that includes their fans. I can respect the fans who grew up watching the old Yankees and root for them because of their storied past. I can’t appreciate the new fans who root for the team because they just bully the rest of baseball (probably another post someday).

Jeter, though, represents the ghosts of Yankees past. He plays the right way. He’s a likable guy, on a team full of players I can’t stand, if only because of the jersey they wear.

More Jeter after the jump… >>

The World Series Championship Cap is Unfortunate

Championship Cap

I’m not sure how something like this passes through quality control unchallenged — especially with the existence of collections like these — but here we are, with the awfully phallic logo on the back of the Giants’ commemorative championship caps; and while I’m all about some alliteration, surely someone along the production line had to notice as well.

Who knows, maybe the symbol was intentional. You know? As a way to celebrate San Francisco’s outgoing gay community? Yeah, I’m pretty sure that’s an incredibly-thin stretch.

A Smokin’ Celebration?

Tim Lincecum

Just in time for the Prop19 vote, too! After clinching the World Series Championship last night, following just a gem of a pitching performance, Tim Lincecum offered these thoughts:

Asked after the clincher how he hopes San Francisco would be celebrating he answered “Just a lot of craziness I’m hoping. Lot of beer flowing… smoke in the air I’m hoping…”

Judging by the great screenshot (courtesy of 30fps, of course), it looks like the celebration started in the dugout a little earlier.